What do you do when you get a new pipe? For some, it's an obvious answer: fill 'er up and smoke it! Sometimes we search around looking for just that perfect pipe to add to our growing collection and, even in cases of ordering or commissioning a custom-made piece, it still feels like the virgin pipe belongs to someone else for a period of time. Many collectors eagerly await the time their new pipe will arrive, constantly tracking the shipment or simply counting the days on their fingers for when it will arrive. Will it be as nice as it looks in pictures? How will it feel in the hand? Will it be comfortable in the jaw, securely gripped or teetered just behind the canines? If all hopes are met, the only thing to do is to make it your own. A pipe is meant to be enjoyed through smoking, so as the breaking-in process sets in the pipe starts to build character personal to the smoker. Favorite blends, aromas, and flavors develop over time -- ones that reflect who the smoker is.
The only other times we tend to hear the phrase "breaking it in" seems to be regarding a new pair of jeans (through repeated wearing and washing) or with a baseball glove (through folding, rolling, beating, oiling, etc.). What about a home or office? A new space seems stale at first, even if it is beautiful and spacious, or humble and inviting. My wife and I moved into a home this past Saturday. With the arrival of movers at 8:15 a.m. we began taking my shop of six years apart and loading it into a truck. Exciting as it is to move to a larger place, I couldn't help but feel just a touch sad/guilty for dismantling my long-established man cave. It was a place of comfort and fond memories where friends, customers, and pipe makers shared laughs, joy, creativity, quite a few beers and countless bowls of tobacco. When I would raise the metal door to begin the day, there was a pleasant aroma of tobacco, briar dust, and the lingering scent of ebonite all around. I love this, but unfortunately couldn't put it in a box along with my tools and briar blocks.
The home we moved into is lovely, but it still felt like the previous renter was occupying the place. Scents are powerful, so my wife sent me off to the store to get some candles scented of lemon, peach, and mint chocolate for various rooms. In the span of only one day, this made it feel more like our place. All I had to tackle now was my new workshop. Boxes, benches, and bins are still scattered all over, so I sat out there with one of my pipes loaded with Full Virgina Flake (a blend of which I smoked many pounds of in my previous shop) and allowed the fragrant clouds of smoke to "break-in" my new work area. Walking out there last night to retrieve something from a box, I was pleased to find the faint scent lingering in the air. It'll take a little while, but just like breaking-in a new pipe, breaking-in my new workshop is going to take a little while. I think I'll have a few of the Smokingpipes.com crew come down soon with their own pipes to help me out.
Tonight we're happy to add a new pipe maker from Germany to our roster: Werner Mummert, a technically gifted artisan who offers a wide variety of shapely pieces. Other pipes that await a chance to become your own include wares from Dunhill, Tsuge, Luciano, Chacom, Johs, Stanwell, Savinelli, and Peterson. We've increased the quantity of estates this update to thirty-six, which might take less time to break-in overall, but a few bowls of tobacco will help them fit you like a favorite pair of jeans.
Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector